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A deck is a perfect spot to relax, enjoy the warm spring temperatures, and entertain guests at your home. However, after a long and chilly New England, your deck may need a little TLC before you want to spend any time out on it. Before the prime spring season hits, use these simple tips to prepare your deck for the nicer weather and to make the most of your outdoor space.
Check the Connections
Decks have many connections that keep everything together and in one piece. This includes nails that connect the wood planks to the surface, rails, and the parts that keep them in place, screws, and other metal pieces. The first step you should do in preparing your deck for the spring is to make sure it’s still safe to walk on and use. Through seasons of regular use, the connections will get some wear and tear, which can cause them to loosen up.
These connections reinforce the structure of your deck, so it’s crucial to make sure they’re in good shape before a season of constant use. Look for warning signs that there are wear and tear, such as loose steps, wobbly rails, or planks that are connected to your home that might be separating. These can all compromise your safety, so you’ll need to get the loose connections fixed or replaced before you start using the deck.
Look for Signs of Damage
Decks are usually made out of wood, but various environmental factors can impact the overall condition of many wood materials. Moisture during the winter months can cause damage to wood, and so can humidity during the warm summer months. Keep your eye out for signs of wood rot, including mold, discoloration, softer areas, or mildew. If you see any warning signs, the deck may not be safe for use. In a softer place, your foot could end up going right through the damaged wood. Any deteriorated sections should be fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
After confirming the condition of your deck, you can see whether it’s safe to use. As long as all of it looks good, you can get started on some preparation to refresh the space and get it ready for the warm sunny days of being outdoors. Pressure washers can clean dirt and grime away quickly and effortlessly. Be sure to use a mild setting because high-pressure could damage the fibers of the wood.
Fresh Coat of Stain or Sealant
One of the last steps in getting your deck ready for the warm weather is adding a protective layer onto it. If the wood is stained, you can add another coat of that same color to keep it looking similar. A great benefit of wood is that it can be stained with many different colors, so if you get tired of what you have and want to change it up, pick a color you like more and apply the stain.
You may have heard the roof being referred to as the umbrella of a house. Did you ever pause to think about what it actually means? The roof is essentially the protective cover of a house that shelters what’s on the inside from the elements. However, many people often forget about roof maintenance and so a lot of time will pass before a homeowner actually checks on the condition of their roof. Spring is a good time to check on your roof, after the winter has done its damage and it’s time to repair any issue that compromises the function of your roof. Here are a few spring maintenance tips that you can adapt to help keep your roof in shape.
Get Your Roof Inspected
It is recommended by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) that homeowners get their roofs professionally inspected at least two times annually. This should be done once in the spring and one in the summer. You want to know what damage the sun, winter weather and summer storms have caused to your roof. Some things to assess include gutters, flashing, shingles and signs of protrusions, all of which can reveal much about the health of your roof. Signs of wear can mean that repairs are needed, and depending on the type of damage present, you may need a roof replacement. For the damage that you can prevent from getting worse, hire a licensed roof contractor to tackle the job before it escalates into something that could prove costly.
Try and Keep Roofing Clean
Whether it’s snow, rain, wind or hail, these weather conditions cause debris to fall on your roof and make their way into your gutters. From leaves to seed, these debris can cause an obstruction, and if allowed to accumulate, can impact the proper roof health, by trapping water on your roof and shortening its lifespan. Spring is the time to trim overgrown trees that can block drainage, limiting water damage to your foundation. Unclog blocked gutters and if algae and mold are present during an inspection, rather than doing a DIY job, get professionals to clean your roof and prevent the growth of either.
Allow Home to Ventilate Properly
You may not think that your home needs to breathe in order to not affect your roof, but something as simple as inadequate ventilation could impact your roof. If you want to keep mold and ice damming at bay provide your home with sufficient ventilation to limit moisture buildup. If moisture reaches your attic where it condenses, your roof can become compromised. Your attic should have roughly 1 square-foot of ventilation per 300 square-feet of attic space as recommended by the Federal Housing Administration. Unfortunately, many homes do not abide by this standard. It’s a good idea to check your attic’s interior, along with your vents to spot any signs of air restriction and moisture buildup. Ensure that leaves and other debris isn’t trapped in your intake vent and exhaust.
Get Roofing Insurance
While it’s good to keep up with adequate roof maintenance to limit the deterioration of your roof, insurance coverage can go a long way to provide cover for roof damage. Consider getting roof damage covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy, which could help greatly if disaster struck and you need to make expensive repairs or get a new roof. Homeowners insurance doesn’t automatically cover roof damage, so double check what’s covered under your policy. Don’t leave room for regret later on if a major roofing issue develops that you cannot put off or avoid.
Make Certain Your Warranty is Solid
Roof repair or replacement can be expensive and it helps to have the right kind of coverage to offset these expenses. Be aware of what’s covered under your roof warranty and the length of the coverage. Typical roofing warranties include the manufacturer’s warranty or shingle warranty, which often covers 20 to 50 years. A lifetime Having solid roof warranty can minimize feelings of anxiety about cost if you need to fix your damaged roof. A “lifetime” roof warranty usually lasts only 20- 30 years, but some roofing companies extend roof warranty up to 50 years, that sometimes can be transferable and non-prorated.
To ensure that your roof is in tip-top shape for spring, don’t neglect to carry out important maintenance measures. From getting a roof inspection to securing a solid roofing warranty, you should limit the chance of your roof deteriorating before it reaches its lifespan and also have proper coverage to tackle damages. For your every roofing need, J&J Home Improvement can help you with your roof repair or replacement job. With top-notch professionals that you can depend on for quality service, J&J will have your roof ready for the springtime, and give you peace of mind that your roof will provide you protection for many years to come.
Adding new siding to your home can add a fresh look to the exterior. The outside of your home can become damaged from weather and other elements, so it’s important to choose a siding that will be able to withstand it all for years to come. Vinyl is the leading material for siding in terms of price, durability, reliability, and convenience. Wood siding is durable and a traditional look for a home, but requires a lot more maintenance. Knowing the pros and cons of different siding materials can help you choose the right one for you and your home or property.
Gathering Design Ideas
Siding is the first thing your guests will see when they come to your home – along with the roof, yard, front doors, and gutters. Siding out of all these aspects creates the most curb appeal, so putting a lot of thought into which kind you want on your home is important. Looking around online and even taking a drive through different neighborhoods can be a great way of finding out what you like. This way, you can see homes that are of similar style to yours so you can see exactly what the siding would look like on yours.
Because siding protects your home from the outside elements, make sure you take into consideration the climate of the area you live in, into consideration. Think about what siding options are the best for the environment you live in – whether it be high heat, low temperatures, lots of rain, humidity, or intense sunlight. Siding choices with UV protection or insulation can ensure your home is ready for the weather it will go through.
Getting Another Opinion
Before picking a siding based on your own thoughts and opinions, try to get a second opinion from a contractor or a professional home designer. Look at all of your choices and try to take your existing gutters, roof, windows, trim, and color of your shutters into consideration when choosing can be really overwhelming. Getting other input can help you feel more confident in your decision.
Choosing a Good Contractor
To get the right siding for your home, use the right siding contractor. Pick a contractor who is insured and licensed with references and referrals, so you know that your siding will be done properly. It is important to use the highest quality materials and services so that your home’s structure isn’t damaged or altered during the installation process.
Entry doors need to be tough enough to be able to face the outdoor elements such as wind, rain, and snow – all while still looking presentable. Older doors are made out of wood or wood veneer, which warps and cracks after years of being exposed to the elements. If you are looking for a new front door, there are plenty of options available nowadays. There are newer wood doors that resist weather and elements better than older versions, as well as fiberglass and metal ones that appear as wood but offer better security and are cheaper.
Replacing a door may sometimes just mean switching out one door for another. Sometimes you may need to gut and replace the door framing which includes door jabs and threshold. If the old door frame is fine, the wall studs it’s nailed to can bow and settle out of square. This can make it hard to open and close the door.
Many manufacturers offer an abundance of door styles. You can also find a broad selection at home centers, lumberyards, and door dealers. You can also design your own door.
Wood doors are the most common ones you’ll find. They are known for their beauty and versatility. Wood doors come in cherry, oak, walnut, fir, pine, and maple. You can also choose from paint-grade doors such as western hemlock or pine.
Steel doors are great if you are looking for security and durability. Steel is stronger than wood or fiberglass doors, and there isn’t a chance of warping or cracking. If there are ever and dents, they are easily fixable. Steel doors are also cost efficient. They are cheaper than wood or fiberglass. All steel doors have an inner frame made out of wood to provide strength. Most steel doors are also covered with a polyester finish that will need repainting eventually. These doors also come as a part of a pre-hung system, which can be very convenient.
Fiberglass-composite doors are maintenance-free and tough against the elements. They are known to be a good choice for humid or harsh climates. These door mimic the look of wood with texturing similar to how a real wooden door would look. They can be stained to match cherry, oak, walnut and other woods. They are another cheap option if you are looking to stay on a budget when it comes to switching your front door.
Aluminum doors have an insulation core and are covered in metal around it. They are custom built to fit your door opening, and are exclusively sold through door dealers. They have an enamel finish so they don’t ever need a coat of paint and won’t rust. They are on the more expensive side, though. They are the next expensive option after solid wood.
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Gutter cleaning is an important part of keeping up with the maintenance of your home. Your gutters are a system built onto your house, and need to be able to function properly to do their job and keep you dry. It may even be easier to not have gutters at all, rather than one that aren’t working correctly. A matter of fact, choosing when to clean your gutters can make them last longer and stay in the best shape. After the last of the fall leaves have came off the trees, is when it’s the best time to clean out your gutters for the winter.
Gutters are more than just a convenience, they make the rainwater go where you need it to. Without gutters, the water would flood you mulch and soil, as well as erode it. The pooling water can soak all the way into your home’s foundation and ruin it. There is a drainage system built into your home’s foundation, but it isn’t intended to be able to handle all the rainwater that is missed by your gutters.
Preventing Gutter Damage
Gutters can get clogged, even if you don’t live in an area with many trees. Even a small amount of leaves can get stuck and create a dam for water to get stuck. Make sure you clean them out before the leaves and moisture freeze in place and break your gutters when rainwater tries to pass through. Water is a pretty heavy element, and can weigh down the gutters to make them sag or become unaligned. Try to prevent this from happening by keeping your gutters cleaned out!
Professional vs Do-It-Yourself
For some, cleaning gutters can be a scary and dangerous task – especially if you have a big home. Climbing onto your own roof can be daunting. If you don’t feel comfortable getting up there and scooping out the leaves, call in the professionals. Don’t prolong the cleaning process just because of the danger factor. Gutter professionals do this as part of their job, and will be happy to do it for you.
J&J Home Improvement can help you with your gutter needs. Whether it’s installation or cleaning, we can be the home improvement company for you and your house. Give us a call at 508-436-6374 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you and helping you out with your gutters!